By Alexandria San Juan
Ride-sharing firm Grab Philippines said on Saturday that it already trained and prepared almost 7,000 taxi drivers across the country to help adopt cashless transactions during rides in support of the government’s mandate for contactless payment in public transportation.
“As we move towards the new reality, we would need to make significant adjustments in many aspects of our lives so that we can protect both the lives and livelihoods of our kababayans. Over a short period of time, we were able to help our taxi drivers – who are previously cash-based and meter-based, embrace digitalization, and adapt to cashless,” Grab Philippines President Brian Cu said.
This was after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) recently released Memorandum Circular No. 2020-018 which mandates the collection of fares in taxi units and transport network vehicle service (TNVS) as “strictly through cashless payment or through online payment facility only.”
Following the LTFRB’s order, Grab said that it was able to conduct training programs for thousands of taxi drivers and operators, highlighting the ease of using its own mobile wallet, GrabPay, for accepting cashless payments.
According to Grab, around 400 taxi drivers from Baguio and Naga Cities already resumed their operations on May 22 and are now implementing cashless transactions during rides.
Awaiting the resumption of public transportation in other cities, Grab added that it has trained and prepared almost 7,000 taxi drivers to likewise conduct cashless rides, as well as several safety and hygiene practices in relation to the health guidelines issued by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for PUVs.
The DOTr has been pushing the use of contactless payments on all public utility vehicles to further curb the spread of COVID-19 once operations of all modes of transportation resume under the general community quarantine.
Aside from mitigating the spread of the virus through the exchange of cash, Grab added that adapting cashless payments will also help in the contact tracing requirement of the Department of Health in public transportation.
“We believe that by adopting cashless payment for public transportation, we will reduce the risk of spreading the infection through cash, but likewise improve our contact tracing capability,” Cu added.
Grab’s ride-hailing operations have been hampered by the enforcement of the enhanced community quarantine since mid-March as public transportation services have been shut down to enforce strict home quarantine.
All modes of public transit systems, including TNVS, are set to resume in areas under a more relaxed general community quarantine but with limited capacity to observed physical distancing measures.